Great Lakes
Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean.John Funk / TNS

OH - Ohio Supreme Court approves Lake Erie wind project - It would be the first freshwater, offshore wind turbine facility in North America.

The Ohio Power Siting Board has recommended conditional approval of the $126 million Icebreaker six-turbine wind turbine project proposed by the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. The six-turbine wind farm is expected to look similar to this offshore wind farm near Block Island in the Atlantic Ocean.John Funk / TNS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a state permit to construct the first freshwater, offshore wind turbine facility in North America was appropriately granted for the Icebreaker project in Lake Erie.

The Icebreaker project proposes to build six turbines eight to 10 miles off the Lake Erie coast, near Cleveland. The demonstration project would generate 20.7 megawatts of electricity, with a potential to expand if successful.

At issue before the court was whether the Ohio Power Siting Board followed the law in granting the permit.

Ohio Justice Jennifer Brunner wrote the majority opinion. Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justices Patrick F. Fischer, R. Patrick DeWine, Michael P. Donnelly and Melody Stewart joined her opinion.

Justice Sharon Kennedy dissented.

With the Ohio Supreme Court approval, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp., which is called LEEDCo and is developing the project, has additional security to market the power to potential customers, the company said in a statement Wednesday, shortly after the Supreme Court decision was released.

A third of the power is under contract with the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. LEEDCo can now focus on marketing the remaining two-thirds.

There isn’t yet a date for when construction will start, as LEEDCo was waiting on the court, said Will Friedman, president and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

“LEEDCo will need some time to regroup, market the power and determine next steps. We could not advance the project in any way while the Supreme Court case was pending,” he said. “Even though we prevailed today, it’s been a detrimental delay for over a year. With certainty received from the Court, we can now focus on marketing the remaining two-thirds of the electricity it will produce.”

Icebreaker is projected to have a $253 million local economic impact and create more than 500 jobs, according to the company.

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